Become a member for unlimited and immediate access.
Fit is about so much more than a dress size label and changing consumer and industry trends are fueling the need to go beyond standard sizing to find a more personalised, better fit for customers. Consumers no longer accept that they have to fall between sizes or that they must wear something that is uncomfortable or not fit for the purpose they bought it for.
“Better explaining the fit of a particular garment and giving as much information as possible about how a particular garment fits is vital,” says Will Goodridge, EU digital marketing manager for GSM England Retail – which comprises brands including Billabong, Element, RVCA and Two Seasons.
“There are two clear benefits, retailers will sell more when visitors are given confidence on how a particular garment will fit, and secondly, it will decrease the number of returns,” he says. As a result retailers are responding to how they sell fit – both with better fit options but also better fit explanations. They are providing items more applicable to use or specific customer types – such as tall or plus size, while the increasing use of technical materials in clothing is making it more of a performance product – where fit is also more important than ever.
Whilst in standard clothing fit preferences can vary hugely – whether that’s for comfort (maternity), performance (active and sportswear) or body confidence (plus size) worldwide fit preferences are even more varied. For example, as well as cultural differences about what parts of the body can and can’t be on show in the likes of Asia there is also a trend for baggier items in the likes of Japan whereas Europeans tend to like their clothes more slimly fitted.
Retailers and brands are doing more than ever to react to all these trends to ensure that the products they sell more closely than ever meet their customers individual needs wherever and whoever they may be.
What are the main consumer segments where fit is important?
Where once a baggy t-shirt and a pair of tracksuit bottoms may have sufficed, the activewear market is huge today and one where fit is more important than ever, whether it’s comfy and functional for yoga stretches or sweat wicking lycra for road cycling.